Balletmom

Question--Your List of "Essential" Ballet Videos

51 posts in this topic

Balletmom, that sounds like a great plan --

Something you might consider is aranging with the school to show some videos for a whole class of students, and letting the young dancers talk about what they liked and didnt like about the performance.... it might take some tricky scheduling, might have to wait for the summer Intensive, but do a short series, Swan Lake one week, Agon the next, Who cares? the next, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers the next (Mr B told Gelsey to dance like Fred Astaire, and I've alwys thought that Suzanne Farrell had some of Ginger Rogers's qualities -- note how she uses her face to keep her privacy)

Well, that's what I would do -- but you could come up with your own.....

oh yes, don't forget SInging in the Rain

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Thanks, Paul Parrish, for great suggestions. Also, Singing in the Rain has always been one of my favorites, and I think it would be great for my daughter, as it's such a classic. I never took dance, but I remember as a child doing my version of Astaire dancing while singing the song at the top of my lungs. ( :thumbsup: Only if no one was around, of course.)

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Sorry balletmom, wasn't it Gene Kelly instead of Fred Astaire in "Singin' in the Rain"?

:flowers:

Silvy

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:flowers: Sorry, Silvy! I should know better than rely on my swiss cheese memory! Now that you said that, the visual image is so clear in my mind, I'm truly embarrassed!

My memories of this movie are from my childhood--I was born just a couple of years after it was released. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it in years. (I watch very little TV.) But it is one the movies I plan on ordering for my daughter for Christmas. :flowers: The funny thing is, I was actually named after the female star of this movie. It was a very popular name at the time--in one of my elementary school classes, there were 5 "Debbie"s one year.

Balletmom

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May I suggest the tape THAT'S DANCING! I bought it while visiting NYC few years ago, and can never get bored watching that tape - as it covers the story of the dance and dancing - starting from the pre-historical period up to Michael Jackson.

The main narrator is Gene Kelly. Several other great dancers overtake during that video, amongst them - Mikhail Baryshinkov (reviews classic ballet part); Lisa Minelli (Dancing on Broadway), etc.

It is a mini-encyclopedia of numerous genres and directions of dance in a way, and for me it is an absolute must-have video. I am sure that any young dancer (and their moms, and just about anyone more or less interested in dance and its history) would appreciate having this tape in their "essential" video collection.

Speaking of Swan Lakes - I treasure my Swan Lake with majestic Yevteyeva as Odette/Odille and her partner's name has just slipped from my aging memory - his first name was John :wub:. Performance by Kirov's Ballet. (Gester - brilliant Valery Panov). The reason I treasure it is that they actually created some dancing for the prelude part of the ballet!

Also - a great thing to have is Don Quixote with Baryshnikov (ABT, 1983). It is always so uplifting! I love every second of that superb performance! Aspiring dancers can find plenty of things to learn on that tape, and ordinary mortals like myself - just thoroughly enjoy joy de vivre of of it.

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I like documentaries, and I think Backstage at the Kirov is a wonderful onel

djb, i'm praying you will answer this one (even though I still owe you history behind Ulanova's and other dancers' names :wub: )

I LOVE BALLET DOCUMENTARIES! :jump:

And, I've never heard of Backstage at the Kirov :wub: .

May I ask where did you get this tape, and if possible - to completely overjoy me - how and where from, you believe, I could get it from?

A THOUSAND THANKS IN ADVANCE! :D:wink::wub:

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Marianna, may I ask you where you obtained that copy of Swan Lake with Yevteyeva???????

silvy

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yevteyeva's partner in the kirov swanlake is jonny markovsky, husband, at the time, i THINK of alla ossipenko.

he was part of the kirov's summer season in london, when ossipenko also danced and which included kolpakova, sizova, soloviev, semenonv, and makarova, and oh yes the west's first look at baryshnikov. by the royal festival hall season's end, markarova had defected. this was 1970, and it was my good luck to have had this occasion as my initial look at the kirov live.

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Oh, rg, I am green with envy of you having been able to see such a handful of kirov stars all together!!!!!

:grinning: :yes:

Silvy

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Thank you again, rg - you seem to be an ocean of information about ballet and ballet-related issues! :wub::D

Silvy , i guess, you should try e-bay or amazon.com as rg recommended - as I bought my Swan Lake with Yevteyeva and Markovski (THANK YOU AGAIN rg :wink: ) when I was visiting St. Petersburg, Russia back in Aug. 2002. They've got lots of most incredible things sold there - right in a foyer of Mariinski and Alexandrinsky's theaters - for almost nothing! (it was actually rather sad to see all those elderly ladies, aparently retired long ago as Mariinsky personnel - selling ORIGINALS of all those precious (or should I say PRICELESS) BLACK AND WHITE photographs of the ballet legends - dating back to early XX cent.!! But you would love to find yourself there and just browse through their precious possessions - offered for sale to earn them pennies for bread.)

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Backstage at the Kirov focuses on Altynai Asylmuratova's debut in Swan Lake with her husband, Konstantin Zaklinsky, among scenes of other rehearsals and classes (both students and company members). I think it's beautifully filmed and edited. As rg said, it is available at kulturvideo.com, and also at amazon.com (the viewers' reviews at that site unanimously gave it top marks, the last time I looked).

The Yevteyeva Swan Lake is no longer available (new, that is). Fortunately for me, a friend who had it made a copy for me. I like her very much in the role, although I can't say I like the production in general.

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I just remembered that I thought the Yevteyeva Swan Lake is also worth having for Valery Panov's performance as the Jester.

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I came across this dvd "Video Dictionary of Classical Ballet"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...847905?v=glance

while scrolling through Amazon's ballet listings, and I wondered if anyone has any knowledge of it. The concept sounds great, although it's not quite what I was originally looking for, and I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to purchase. The price is not exactly cheap, and I would hate to purchase it if it ended up sitting on a shelf somewhere in my daughter's room. Any opinions?

Thanks,

Balletmom

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Balletmom,

I've had the ballet dictionary DVD on order at Amazon since November 13, and it hasn't shipped yet, so I assume it's not yet available.

Another DVD to consider, though I don't know how appropriate it is for younger children, is the Nederlands Dans Theater's performances of Jiri Kylian's Black and White Ballets. It shows how differently ballet-trained dancers can move, in contrast to the classical stuff, and was eye-opening for me in the expressiveness of Kylian's choreography --- the first time I saw it, I kept saying to myself over and over again, "I didn't know you could do that!"

Speaking of documentaries, I remember watching many (10 or 15?) years ago a documentary about a ballet company on tour on PBS. I don't remember much about it except how much it conveyed how normal dancers actually were because in addition to showing rehearsals and performances, they also followed the dancers on their downtime shopping, going to the beach, etc. This is a really vague description, but does anyone know what I'm talking about?

--Andre

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Andre, I pretty sure you're referring to the great documetatrian Frederick Wiseman's Ballet. At one point it does follow ABT dancers on tour. There is a beach scene where a male dancer flies a kite with all the choreographic flair one would expect.

This film is rarely shown on TV and is only available as a rental to groups or for purchase by institutions. I believe it is the finest "behind the scenes" look at the world of ballet ever made.

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Watermill,

Thanks for the pointer --- that sounds vaguely familiar. It's too bad some of the best stuff is so tightly held.

--Andre

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The Evteyeva/Markovsky/Panov Swan Lake was released in Germany on DVD (in other words in PAL). I haven't seen it myself, but I was told that the transfer quality wasn't really top.

You can order it through Amazon.de http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000...6214399-2695254

VAI just announced the release of three historic Bolshoi ballet performances: Swan Lake with Plisetskaya/Fadeyechev, Romeo and Juliet with Ulanova/Zhdanov, and Spartacus with Vasiliev/Liepa/Bessmertnova/Timofeyeva.

More on: http://www.vaimusic.com/NewReleases.shtml

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Here's another suggestion: the Paris Opera Ballet's production of Don Quixote (with Nureyev's extra choreography, which is nice because there's more dancing for the guys) with Manuel Legris as Basilio, and Aurelie Dupont as Kitri. I'd never seen the POB before, and was completely blown away! Where do I start? The precision of the corps, and their wonderful dancing, especially the men and their relaxed (in a good way) leg- and footwork. Legris is also amazing --- he looks like he stepped out from a ballet textbook fully formed. Beautiful feet and legs, good lines, control, wonderful turns, and stage presence, along with articulate textbook technique (how straight are those legs?). The corps' upper bodies and arms don't quite have the same expressiveness as the Kirov, but their legs and feet make up for that. Maybe I'm just taken by everything else, but every woman in the corps also is very pretty and fresh-faced. :wub:

This is out on DVD, published by TDK, with excellent picture and sound (in 5.1 surround as well), and intelligent indexing (the individual variations of the dances can be accessed directly). I found it at Tower Records, so I'm guessing it's widely available in the US.

--Andre

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The DVD "Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet" is one that I just purchased. It was recommended to me by another ballet mom. It is a beautiful documentary, filmed in 1999, and captures the true essence of why dancers dance. There are English subtitles as it is all spoken in French, with exception of a short conversation with choreographer Kylian who does speak English. I am giving a copy of this to our BD for sure. These 'etoiles' are so inspiring and it truly gives you a real inside peak of a major international ballet company. I give it two :thumbsup: !!!!!

(You can find this dvd on amazon.com)

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Rather late in the game I realize, I'd like to recommend The Dancer. It may only be available on video--but Katja Bjorner is breathtaking.

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I don't own a huge collection of videos and DVDs but my collection is a lot of fun and growing. I especially value the documentaries and selections of historical performances and want to expand my library in this regard.

I own and love (and highly recommend) the outstanding documentary ballet DVDs by Dominique DeLouche (Katia et Volodia, Portrait of Maya Pliestskaya, Violette et Mr B, Yvette Chauvire: France's Prima Ballerina Assoluta); Dance in America's Balanchine and Bringing Balanchine Back; Born to Be Wild, which is great fun (love Mark Morris' Non Troppo at the end); Anne Belle's Dancing for Mr B; Also, Ballets Russes, which currently is my favorite ballet DVD (how I enjoyed Irina Baronova and the others recount their stories! = what a world it was back then for ballet), Bertrand Norman's Ballerina and a gem of a DVD by Virginia Brooks on Felia Doubrovska which I found delightful and poignant. These testimonials are bittersweet - they are illuminating, inspiring and the dancing is great but they are also sad because so many are now gone. Oh, yes,almost forgot: Tony Palmer's Margot.

I don't have a lot of DVDs of performances: I have the two-set DVD Choreography by Balanchine, which I consider essential; One DVD of the Stars of the Russian Ballet series which I recommend; ABT's 2005 Swan Lake; Bolshoi's 1976 Swan Lake with Maya and Fonteyn and Nureyev's Swan Lake from the early 50's (Vienna State Opera Ballet, I think) - IMO a rather unsatisfying performance because of Nureyev's bizarre makeup and the sloppy corps de ballet but interesting nonetheless. Also, I would recommend the Royal's Sleeping Beauty from 2006 - it's gorgeous and Marianela Nunez and Alina Cojocaru dance beautifully.

I would welcome DVD suggestions for Giselle performances.

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I would welcome DVD suggestions for Giselle performances.

  1. Royal Ballet with Cojocaru, Kobborg, Nunez, Harvey (released 2008; taped 2006)
  2. Teatro alla Scalla with Zakharova and Bolle (released 2011; taped 2005)
  3. Ballet Nacional de Cuba with Alonso and Vasiliev (released 2007; taped 1980 in Havana)
  4. out-of-print, but shows up on eBay from time to time: ABT Live from Lincoln Center with Baryshnikov, Makarova, van Hamel (released on VHS 1988; recorded 1977; I don't believe this was ever released on DVD)

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Re my earlier post today and above on the Nureyev/Vienna Opera Ballet Swan Lake: That's early 1960s not 1950s. Sorry for any confusion.

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